July 30, 2010 at 10:03 am (in my head, It's all about me, plays well with others)

There is this thing (attitude is not the right word) in New England that drives folks to be somewhat insular. I don’t say this to be insulting, I simply say it as an outside observer. Perhaps it’s the weather–all of those freezing months followed by the kind of humidity that would make a Buddhist monk cranky–or perhaps it’s derived from the same kind of heartiness that makes them prefer icy ski slopes to fresh powder. In any case it takes a while to make friends. There are no casual invitations, no trying people on for size, no “the more the merrier.” People actually say that they have enough friends. Like out loud.

In many ways, this is superior to the “California invitation” whereby “We should get together sometime,” actually means “I didn’t really know how to end the conversation with you and move on to someone else,” but for a time it was a challenge. It felt exclusionary. It felt like that Harvard party where they let me in because I’m female and flat out told my guy friends, “We don’t know you, get lost.”

It took time, but I got used to that mindset. And took it home with me to San Francisco.

Enter The Man. It is rarely possible to go somewhere in this city without running into someone who knows my boyfriend. He buys beers for out-of-work Irish stonemasons he meets on the street. He remembers the name of the guy working the front desk at our favorite mountaintop retreat. He knows at least 10 people at any given Giants game. He gets greeted by name often. And so it doesn’t surprise me that many new people have become part of my world. What I love is how many of them are downright awesome.

His niece and nephew are two of the smartest most adorable kids ever (and I’m not just saying that because they washed my car for me while I stored it at their house for a week). His cousin and cousin-in-law were the most amazing dinner hosts last night. His friends with whom we spent time in Yosemite are funny, easygoing, and truly welcoming. The people in his life are people I am eager to have in mine.

So I’m dropping my New England attitude and proclaiming instead that you can NEVER have enough friends. Even when you’re triple-booking yourself on a Thursday in order to fit them all in.



  1. Jess said,

    The New England attitude drove me nuts! I much prefer the friendlier, open Denver attitude.

  2. k8 said,

    You can’t ever have enough friends. You can’t.

  3. Nilu said,

    Moving to Seattle and being forewarned of the “Seattle Freeze,” I’m not sure I consider if a New England thing… I think I am friends with exactly two locals here. I can’t make a fair comparison with NE, seeing how I grew up there….

    • BS said,

      I just know that I had exactly one conversation with a stranger in a grocery store in New England…and he happened to be a Californian who saw my license. Here? I’ve had at least 5. “Oh that’s a great beer, have you had it before?” “Cheese and bread is my favorite dinner!” Heh, maybe it’s just that Californians talk about food constantly. 🙂

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